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Best regional QLD areas for property investment 2021

Profile photo of Katy Holliday

If you're looking for property investment opportunities in the Sunshine State - or anywhere in the country - it certainly pays to look outside of the metropolitan areas, where you can find cheap land for sale in QLD, high price growth and strong rental returns. Capital city property markets are currently being outperformed by regional locations, and this is being seen all over Queensland.  

Currently, the median house price in QLD is $489,000, making it a more affordable and accessible choice for investment than NSW ($650,0000) and VIC ($600,000).

If you're looking for rural properties for sale, this could potentially be a wise investment for your future. However, you might be wondering which Queensland regional area is the best for property investment in 2020? Let's take a look at the QLD regions that are ripe for the picking at the moment.

Best regions in QLD to invest in property

regional QLD property market
Sunset over South West Queensland

While Brisbane is expected to experience moderate growth in 2020, the state's regional areas are amongst some of the best performing in the country. 

The Sunshine Coast property market is currently one of the most prime in Australia for investment. With a local economy that's going from strength to strength, strong population and job growth, as well as plenty of investment in large infrastructure projects, the Sunshine Coast housing market is thriving.

Investors are keeping a keen eye on houses for sale in QLD in Maroochydore, Caloundra and Kawana Waters markets and top performing suburbs include:

Gold Coast suburbs to watch out for include:

The Moreton Bay QLD region is ripe for investment with attractive prices, strong growth, low vacancies and high rental yields. As a major growth centre with proximity to the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, the region offers investors a lot. According to Canstar, suburbs experiencing solid growth are: 

"Toowoomba has large infrastructure projects in the pipeline, like the airport and motorway, which will stimulate the local economy"

In the Darling Downs in QLD, the Toowoomba property market has a tight vacancy rate of 1.1%. Toowoomba has large infrastructure projects in the pipeline, like the airport and the motorway, which will stimulate the local economy and the city is experiencing its first signs of recovery.

The suburb of Middle Ridge is tipped to experience high price growth over the next three years, while the annual price growth is currently up +2.04%. 

The Rockhampton property market is set for a comeback with confidence returning to The Beef City. Sales are on the rise, rents are increasing and vacancies are tight, which is making the affordable housing prices appealing to investors. This includes:

  • Yeppoon, which has posted gains of +10.77%, and with a median price of $360,000, you can find some of the cheapest beach houses for sale in Queensland.

Gladstone seems to have bottomed out and has started to claw its way back with sales activity lately. These suburbs are seeing excellent growth, yet still relative to just how far the market did fall:

In Cairns, it's all about the rental returns. Strong rental performance is found in:

  • Woree, which posted rental yields of 5.8%
  • Manunda, with rental yields of 5.6%
AreaMedian house price12 month growthMedian gross yield
Parrearra 4575$773,00011.15%3.8%
Shelly Beach 4551$1,000,00012.78%2.6%
Biggera Waters 4216$712,0005.41%4.0%
Maudsland 4210$620,0005.08%4.6%
Paradise Point 4216$969,0008.42%3.1%
Woody Point 4019$500,0008.00%4.0%
Strathpine 4500$440,0007.00%4.8%
Middle Ridge 4350$333,0002.04%4.2%
Yeppoon 4703$360,00010.77%5.1%
South Gladstone 4680$265,00015.00%4.9%
Glen Eden 4680$269,00022.05%5.4%
West Gladstone 4680$200,00014.29%5.7%
Woree 4868$328,0009.17%5.8%
Manunda 4870$351,0002.93%5.6%
Logan Reserve 4133$440,0003.29%4.7%
Logan Village 4207$618,0002.07%4.6%

Fastest growing regional areas

Mackay real estate
Diverging away from its reliance on the mining industry, Mackay is diversifying its local economy and bringing in more tourism.

Where exactly are the fastest growing QLD regions to buy an investment property? 

Out west, in the Bowen Basin, mining towns are seeing a comeback with new operations commencing. Savvy investors can find rural real estate that is cash flow positive for a small deposit. A volatile market, where things can change quickly, these Queensland regional areas are currently experiencing high price growth:

  • Blackwater which grew +65.28%
  • Dysart which grew +31.13% and has high rental returns of 11% and some of the cheapest houses in Australia with a median sale price of $99,000
  • Moranbah which grew +12.5%
  • The Hervey Bay Council suburb of Wondunna, which posted healthy gains of +28.68%

Coming back from the mining downturn is the Mackay property market. With unemployment levels decreasing, the new Qantas Pilot Training Academy starting up, and more construction projects in the works, we are seeing growth prices and rental averages on the rise.

"With unemployment levels decreasing, the new Qantas Pilot Training Academy starting up and more construction projects in the works, we're seeing growth prices and rental averages on the rise in Mackay"

Mackay is diversifying the local economy and bringing in more tourism, instead of relying heavily on mining like in the past. With the Whitsundays on its doorstep and affordable properties, Mackay is becoming a great opportunity for investors looking for properties or acreage for sale in QLD. According to Canstar, suburbs to consider, include:

AreaMedian house price12 month growthMedian gross yield
Blackwater 4717$149,00065.28%9.1%
Dysart 4745$99,00031.13%11.0%
Moranbah 4744$225,00012.50%8.6%
Wondunna 4655$463,00028.68%4.4%
Mount Pleasant 4740$403,00021.00%5.5%
Sarina 4737$287,00015.00%6.3%
West Mackay 4740$339,00013.00%5.8%

What should buyers and investors be wary of in QLD?

If you're considering investing in rural land for sale in a Queensland mining town, stand on the side of caution. This is a much riskier investment landscape due to the nature of mining town activity. 

Often, bigger cities hold better opportunities for capital growth gains, while in the regional towns and centres you'll find higher rental yields and properties that are more cash flow positive. So essentially, it will depend on your investment property strategy when it comes to deciding where you want to invest in Queensland. 

How can we expect the QLD regional property market to change in 2020?

Townsville real estate
With $25 billion in investment on the horizon, the Townsville property market is predicted to make a recovery in the near future.

QBE's Australian Housing Outlook 2019-2022, prepared by BIS Oxford Economics analysts, forecasts the following for the various regional markets around Queensland:

For the Gold Coast, forecast growth of +2.9% growth per annum, with the median house price to reach $680,000 by June 2022.

For the Sunshine Coast, a cumulative rise of +7% overall for the market, with the median house price expected to reach $635,000 by June 2022.

For Queensland's regional mining centres, 'in recent quarters, residential price growth has been patchy, and it's difficult to gauge any marked recovery.' However, in Isaac, Mackay and Gladstone City Council areas prices have been rising.

For the Townsville property market, signs are pointing toward a recovery with over $25 billion in investment on the horizon. The median house price in the Townsville regional council is forecast to rise to $345,000 by June 2022, which amounts to cumulative growth of +10% in prices over the next three years.

For the Cairns real estate market known for its excellent rental returns, growth is expected to be a cumulative rise of +7% over the next three years, bringing the median house price to $440,000 by June 2022.

How to identify an area with high growth potential

When it comes to searching out regional property hotspots where there is high growth potential, it takes a lot of research and time. Here are some of the things you'll need to consider:

Large infrastructure investments in the wings that will improve the work and lifestyle opportunities of the area, and will ultimately generate action in the local property market. One tip is to look for places with unemployment under 4%.

Renovations, developments and signs of gentrification taking place in the area are good indications that the location is on the rise. 

Analyse metrics such as the days on market. The number of days it takes to sell a property indicates how hot the market is. Keep in mind that regional listings will have different averages than city locations. 

When the auction clearance rates are high and sellers are opting for this sale method over private sale, it's a sign that there's lots of demand for that particular area, which could mean high price growth is around the corner. 

Take a look at the rental yield activity. If this metric is on the rise, it means there could be an increase in population growth driving demand for rental properties.